Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato

This past week has been a tough one so consequently, I haven’t had much time, or energy to work on this blog. Last week I was given the news that due to market conditions, my position was being eliminated at the real estate company for which I was a marketing coordinator. You would think that this would give me much more time to work on my blog, (which it still may). But in the meantime I’m finding myself scrambling to re-write my resume and get my graphic design portfolio ( up and running. And I have to say that in the wake of this news I find myself less than inspired in the cooking category. That’s not to say that I haven’t been cooking, but just cooking simply. The other night I fried up some bacon, (something that always makes me feel better!) and made BLT’s. I don’t eat too many sandwiches on bread, but the BLT is one occasion which calls for it, so I used some Food for Life rice bread. I always like cheese on mine so instead of calling it a BLT my wife calls it a B with TLC! (Bacon with Tomato, Lettuce and Cheese) and right now I could use all the TLC I can get…

B with TLC (A.K.A. BLT with Cheese)
Serves 2

4 slices of bacon, cut in half- cooked
1 Tomato- sliced
Few pieces lettuce, rinsed
Sharp Cheddar Cheese- sliced
GF mayonnaise (I use Hellman's.)
4 slices Lightly GF bread

Lightly toast the GF bread slices
Spread mayo on both pieces of toast
Lay down bacon, tomato, cheese, and then the lettuce
Slice sandwich in half (optional)
Serve with carrot sticks,potato or tortilla chips, Enjoy!


Caribbean Roasted Chicken with Bacon

I like to cook healthy food and the problem with bacon is that it just not healthy! One of the good thing about bacon is that it's so packed with flavor that a little goes a long way. So when I say that I baked this chicken breast covered in bacon all I really did was to cover each chicken breast with one piece of bacon. That's not so bad, is it? The Caribbean spice rub I made for this recipe is a great spice mixture to have on hand through the warm months. It not only works well with chicken, but also with fish and pork. The black bean salsa pictured is a quick easy recipe I like to make often. Here is the link to the black bean salsa recipe I posted a few months ago, the only difference is that I've added one cup of cooked corn to the salsa seen above.

Caribbean Roasted Chicken with Bacon
serves 2

2 boneless, skinless half chicken breasts
2 slices of uncooked bacon
1 lime, or lime juice

Caribbean Spice Rub

3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
3 Tbsp sea salt


For the spice rub, mix all of the ingredients together well and store in an air-tight container. Will keep well in a dark cupboard for up to 3 months

Pound out the breast to tenderize it and thin it out a bit
"Rub" the chicken breasts liberally with the Caribbean spice rub, place in a covered bowl and refrigerate. Let it marinade for at least a half hour, or up to 24 hours
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
Place the chicken in a baking dish and cover each piece of chicken with one slice of bacon, folding it over or slicing it in half to cover the entire top of the breast.
Cut the lime in half and sprinkle it liberally over the bacon and chicken
Cover the dish and bake for 35 minutes, remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through
Let cool a few minutes and serve over rice with black bean salsa.
Goes well with a white wine such as a Viognier or Pinot Grigio, enjoy!


Sauteed Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes

It is somewhat frustrating for me to live in a condo where there is no grills allowed. No charcoal, no propane, not to mention that we have an electric stove, in short, no fire! For the past five years I've had access to a gas stove and a charcoal grill, which I used year round, so I'm having a hard time adjusting to a fireless kitchen. Tonight I had a strong urge to roast tomatoes. I really can't say why, but I started having visions of roasting big pans of tomatoes along with zucchini and peppers and whatever other vegetables I could get my hands on. I reminded myself that I still have a a broiler, even if it's electric.
One thing lead to another tonight, the kids were sick, the house had to be picked up, etc, so by the time I had a few minutes to get into the kitchen my visions of roasting huge pans of food just wasn't going to work out. So I scaled down my visions, way down. I ended up roasting two tomatoes in my toaster oven. And the good news is they still tasted great! I cooked a bit of polenta with olive oil garlic and some zucchini and put the tomato over top and had a light , but satisfying meal. This dish would make a great light lunch. I used the quick and easy pre-cooked polenta from Trader Joe's.

Sauteed Polenta with Roasted Tomatoes
serves 1-2

2 roma tomatoes
3 Tbsp olive oil
9 oz pre-cooked Polenta- sliced in 1/2 inch thick pieces
4 cloves garlic-minced
1 tbsp dried sage
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 zucchini- chopped

parmesan cheese

Heat a frying pan to medium high with 2 Tbsp of the olive oil
saute the garlic in the pan for about one minute then add the polenta slices
Sprinkle the polenta with half of the dried sage and oregano, salt and pepper
cook for three to four minutes, using a spatula to keep the polenta from sticking to the pan
Flip the polenta over, add the zucchini to the pan and sprinkle the other half of the sage and oregano, salt and pepper over everything
Keep stirring the zucchini and polenta, for about 3-4 more minutes, add a bit more olive oil if the pan gets too dry, once cooked through. Cover and set-aside
Cut the tomatoes in half legnth-wise, place in a pan, sprinkle with oilve oil salt and pepper
Place the tomatoes in the broiler for about 5 minutes, then flip over and broil on the other side for another 5 minutes
Serve the polenta on a plate and cover with the sauteed garlic, zucchini and roasted tomatoes, splash a little oilve oil over top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, enjoy!

Chicken and Sausage Cacciatore

It's April here in North Carolina, the Cherry trees are in full blossom, The dog wood trees and Azalea bushes are just beginning to bloom, but it's still cold! We've definitely had some warm, and even hot days, but today it's just 40 degrees. One good thing about the lingering cool weather, it gives me an excuse to continue cooking winter soups and stews, and my all-time favorite stew is Chicken Cacciatore! Translated from Italian cacciatore means "hunter's stew", or "the catch of the day". I can just picture cacciatore stew being slow cooked in an Italian country villa with rabbit and Guinea fowl (like a pheasant).

Back here in the U.S, I went hunting at our local grocery store and stirred-up some chicken breast and Italian sausage, and I didn't even have to kill them! I've also made this recipe with boneless chicken thighs and legs and with pork, it's pretty versatile so you can add whatever type of meat you choose, or no meat at all.

The combination of fennel seed, rosemary and oregano, along with the mushrooms, give this dish a rich savory flavor that is really satisfying, especially on a cold day.

This recipe also adapts well to a slow cooker or crock-pot. Just brown the meat, saute the onions, garlic, celery along with the herbs in a pan, then add everything else and let cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Cacciatore with Chicken and Italian Sausage

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. Italian Sausage (sweet or hot)
1 Lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 medium onion
1 stalk of celery, cut up
4 cloves garlic
1 large bell pepper, cut up to bite sized
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp dried Oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tsp fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, or 1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp crushed red pepper(optional)
1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup red wine
6-8 crimini mushrooms (or white button mushrooms), sliced

Fresh basil for garnish (optional)
Grated parmesan cheese


Heat a large stock pot to medium high heat with the olive oil
Place the chicken breast and the Italian Sausage into the pot, cook each for about 1 minute on each side, browning them, working in batches if you need to. Set aside.
Using the same heated pot, stir in the onion, garlic, celery, and bell pepper, let them cook about a minute or so, using a fork to scrape off and stir in the browned pieces on the bottom of the pot
Mix in the Oregano, basil, fennel seed, rosemary, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper
Next stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, red wine and mushrooms, mix all together well and bring to a slight boil
Add the meat and return to boiling, once it boils again reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes, loosely covered
Remove the bayleaf and romsemary sprig. Serve over GF pasta or rice, garnish with fresh basil (optional) and grated parmesan cheese, Mangia!


Rosemary Fried Potatoes

This is a nice and easy breakfast recipe. I like to cook eggs in the morning and now that bread is mostly out of the picture for me I'll often serve these potatoes with my eggs as a source of carbs to make breakfast the filling meal it should be. A few times I made runny over easy eggs and broke the yoke over these fried potatoes. Last weekend we had company I served them with ham and spinach frittatas and sliced cantaloupe. Now that's a good breakfast!

Rosemary Fried potatoes
Serves 4

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion - chopped
6-8 medium red potatoes- washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 stalks of fresh rosemary or 2 Tbsp dried rosemary
Sea Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
sprig (or two) of fresh parsley chopped (optional)


Cover chopped potato with water in a pot, add salt to the water and bring to a boil
Boil until potatoes slide easily off of a sharp knive, about 10-15 minutes
Heat a large frying pan to medium with the olive oil, once hot add the onion, salt and pepper
Strain potatoes in a colander and stir them into the frying pan with the onion
Mix in the rosemary, continue cooking stiring frequently with a spatula so potatoes don't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more olive oil if the pan gets too dry
Cook until potatoes start turning brown and crispy on the outside, stir in fresh parsley (optional) serve hot, enjoy!